Meraki opened its doors to the public at 939 S. 2nd St. on Dec. 15, 2014. Just over five years later, the restaurant will be closing its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to owner and chef Chad Meier, the restaurant will close after service on Saturday, Aug. 8. Until then, the restaurant will remain open for both dine-in and curbside pick-up.
Meier says that a variety of factors played into his decision. Despite initial success with carry-out and an ever-changing pop-up menu during the initial stages of the pandemic, he says that restaurant sales began to fall off as venues in and around the city began to reopen for indoor and outdoor dining.
Despite opening up for limited dining themselves, Meier says it simply wasn’t enough.
"We’ve been exploring our options for outdoor seating," says Meier, "But it would be difficult to make that work, both because of both our dining style and the limitations on the number of tables we could add outdoors."
Meier says he’ll be taking a break from the industry as he weighs out options for the future. He says he holds onto the hope that Meraki could reopen at some point in the future; but when and how remains uncertain.
"I own the building, so I have a lot of flexibility in terms of decision-making," he says. "I can always come back to being a chef," he says. "But right now, the restaurant landscape has to go through some major changes. And I’d rather take a break and come back once I know better what the situation is going to look like."
Meraki will be open through Aug. 8 for curbside pick-up Tuesday through Saturday from 3 to 7 p.m. and dine-in Tuesday through Saturday beginning at 5 p.m. Reservations are required.
Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.
Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.